To absolutely no one’s surprise, Nintendo has announced a new Animal Crossing title for the Switch. Animal Crossing is nearly as large of a Nintendo first-party staple as Super Mario Bros. or The Legend of Zelda. A new title is expected with each handheld iteration, and since the Switch is a handheld hybrid, of course an Animal Crossing game was coming. Even the Wii had a title, so it was only a matter of time.
My initial reaction to the announcement was excitement, but that fled as quickly as it appeared. Don’t you remember what happened with the last Animal Crossing game you played? How you played it religiously for about two weeks before it got stale? Didn’t that happen with the last Animal Crossing game? And the one before that? How is this one going to be different?
In fact, have any of your experiences in the life simulation genre gone beyond a couple of weeks before boredom struck?
Yeah, no, none of my experiences have. And I’ve tried quite a few, including The Sims (at least three different The Sims games), Viva Pinata: Pocket Paradise, and Tomodachi. All of these games went about the same, where I was hardcore addicted for a max of two weeks, realized I was doing the same thing over and over again, and then walked away forever.
It’s not going to matter what shiny new thing Animal Crossing: New Horizons brings to the table. If I play it, I’ll last two to three weeks, tops. First, I’ll be under Nook’s thumb, slaving away to grow fruit, collect shells, and gather fish to sell in order to pay him back. Then I’ll have to take out another mortgage to expand my property. Of course, there’s also all the villagers demanding I be friendly to them after they harshly judged my decorating skills. Then I’ll exchange friend codes and travel to someone else’s village, steal their fruit, dig up all of their fossils, collect their shells, and sell it for high profit just to owe Nook money again. And again. And again.
Why is this fun, again?
The Sims games hardly fare much better. It’s always fun to build little scenarios where you relentlessly torture your people, but that’s fun for five to ten minutes. Actually being serious in playing The Sims games takes a lot of patience and determination to craft the best life for your Sim.
But why would I want to do that? Living the best life is hard work. I’m already working on building a business, raising kids, keeping friends, paying bills, cleaning the house, etc. Why on earth do I want to do that in a game?
It’s the same with Animal Crossing. I already have a mortgage to pay off. I already deal with people judging how I keep my house, raise my kids, dress, etc. I don’t need little anthropomorphic animals providing similar criticism in my virtual world.
I generally play games to escape reality, not to remind me how monotonous the real world already is. Quite frankly, these games hit a little close to home to keep me entertained. I don’t want to work hard to pay a virtual mortgage in addition to my real one.
If only I could quit my mortgage as easily after two weeks like I quit Nook and The Sims.